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The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly’s identity crisis after ditching her amazing career to marry into royalty. The movie shows how Grace dealt with moving on – but being desperate to go back.
The poor woman was torn.
Nicole Kidman stars as the main role.
Nicole Kidman – Grace Kelly
Tim Roth – Prince Rainier III
Paz Vega – Maria Callas
Milo Ventimiglia – Rupert Allan
André Penvern – Charles de Gaulle
Parker Posey – Madge Tivey-Faucon
Frank Langella – Father Francis Tucker
Geraldine Somerville – Princess Antoinette
The movie opens with Grace sat in a car on set, filming a movie. Shortly after the cameras stop rolling, she gets up and exits the set. During this whole opening you only see the back of her – until she sits down in ger dressing room and looks in the mirror at herself.
I have to say it; although Grace Of Monaco was dull, it was incredibly watchable. So it wouldn’t be on my personal ‘top ten to rent’ list, but at the same time if it was on TV, I’d probably have it running in the background whilst doing other things. I was neither captivated nor agitated by this movie – it just.. happened. I literally let it hit me (and mainly go over my head).
My only complaint would be having Nicole Kidman cast as Grace Kelly. Looks-wise, I don’t think the director could have gotten any other actress to resemble Grace so strongly. It was Nicole’s performance skills which didn’t quite cut it; her classic style of acting of which she couldn’t even break out of for such a major role.
Whenever someone mentions Nicole Kidman, I think: small bloodshot eyes, milky skin and sweet features. So petite in form that if I lightly bumped into her, I’d be afraid I’d snapped a bone. She can act brilliantly, but does so in the same delicate style – all the time. Its hard to see beyond her milky complexion and sweet posture. The actress remains HERSELF, never seems to look different. Yet she manages to deliver an effective performance all the same (how many other actors / actresses can cry as easily as this chick?). If a performer is talented, they usually work hard to deliver a distinctive character who is different from their last. I mean, look at Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady compared to her in August: Osage County – incredible.
Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly was..
That’s right, as always this prim and proper actress brought no dynamic to the character, nothing which stood out. There was one scene where she plays Grace rehearsing a scene from a script – she stands in the middle of her bedroom in a dressing gown, staring intensely at the camera whilst practising her lines. Nicole Kidman was again.. Nicole Kidman.
As she practised the same line again and again in different styles, I sat there thinking: “OK, that’s her in The Others“.
“Oh, that’s exactly like her in Moulin Rouge“.
“Oh, that sounds like her when she was in Invasion“.
“Just like her character in Stoker“.
Nicole Kidman is surrounded by a typecast barrier which she just cannot break through, but equally remains a very strong actress whose reputation is invaluable. That’s just the way it is. Performance wise, Nicole carried this movie effortlessly; she acted in full flow and delivered the script as effectively as she always does – in that famous whispery voice. She was nowhere near fantastic – but at the same time she wasn’t overly bad.
Hitchcock (played by Roger Ashton-Griffiths) makes an appearance at one point. Referring to him as “Hitch”, Grace dotes on him. He is something of a friend and a teacher to her, a man she can trust. But when he offers her a script she cannot refuse, her life is thrown into turmoil – yes – just because of a script.
Ashton-Griffiths carried Hitchcock fine, but wasn’t overly memorable. I couldn’t help thinking every time he was on screen, how significantly better Anthony Hopkins would’ve been had they cast him. I know he actually played Hitchcock in his own movie a while back, but if they brought him back to star in this – I reckon it would have made a nice dynamic; perhaps made the audience laugh at how they recognise him, familiarity. Kidman against Hopkins – nice.
Ashton-Griffiths’ voice was just plain weird – he seemed to think Alfred Hitchcock had a throat infection, therefore resulting in a gravel-type voice which was almost inaudible.
Anthony Hopkins would have been the better choice.
One scene displayed the cameraman’s wild enthusiasm, resulting in a baffling piece of camerawork. When Grace is sat talking to another character, the camera focuses on her eyes. All of a sudden it starts shaking. And drops slightly, revealing the bridge of her nose.
“ooh” I thought, “a bit of unique camera work to emphasize Grace’s crying eyes”.
..the camera shifted to the left.
Then to the right.
Then shakily up, before shakily lowering again.
The giddy view was as if the cameraman was still pissed up from the cast get-together the night before, slightly nauseating. I’m sure director Olivier Dahan blurted something like, “ok guys – we gotta get a close-up of her eyes to portray her upset. And let’s make it unique can we? Film it in a way which highlights the beauty yet fragile sadness..” etc. – but I can categorically state it was bizarre.
I enjoyed the overall ‘torn’ concept; a fully grown mature woman living a life she fell into by chance – which ultimately is not the right life for her, despite having everything she could want or need. Grace Kelly is content – but equally unhappy. And this sort of situation would be bloody difficult, for anyone.
That whole thing of Grace having to live a certain way, to the standards and expectations of royalty yet the second someone puts a script in her hand, the façade is splintered; it’s that cliché but interesting ‘smiling on the outside – broken on the inside’ element which I enjoyed. Having to be someone else when you want to be somewhere else.
Grace Of Monaco isn’t very exciting or captivating. I can see why the press slated it before release, but it wasn’t a complete disaster like most of them said. I didn’t mind sitting through it – It was bearable.
It didn’t win me over, but it didn’t send me to sleep either – I just let it fly over my head and left the cinema as melancholy as I entered.
But is it worth PAYING to see?…